Oh oh, Mama. This is good stuff.
It's sort of ironic, or maybe even a little pathetic, that two of the best dramas of the year coincide with the end of a certain format. After wasting their time with season dramas that had no seasons, MBC scored a winner with their last "season drama" 라이프 특별조사팀 (Life: Special Investigation Unit), mixing Japanese genre drama tropes with Korean sentiment. And now it seems SBS is following the same path, with the conclusion of their Friday Dramas hitting the jackpot right on their last effort, 신의 저울 (The Scale of Providence), which started airing yesterday. A few weeks ago, SBS announced they'll terminate the Friday Drama format. That is because, apparently, trying to fund innovative genre dramas among rubbish for the ajumma junta holding the remote is easier said than done. Which, essentially, means The Scale of Providence will be the last Friday Drama we'll see until next year, when things will get back to normal (on paper).
But, after watching the first two episodes, one thing's for sure: this is not only a badass, exciting court thriller. It might actually be 2008's equivalent of 부활 (Resurrection), Kim Ji-Woo and Park Chan-Hong's masterpiece from 2005. Genre is a little different, but at least the vibes are quite similar. And it's no surprise if you look at who's behind the camera: PD Hong Chang-Ok's 강남엄마 따라잡기 (Gangnam Mom) was one of last year's biggest surprises, and he certainly keeps that ironic, pungent touch alive in Scale, which might actually become really critical of the Korean justice system, as the episodes go on. But why the vibes feel similar to Resurrection can be explained also through this drama's writer: it's Yoo Hyun-Mi of 그린 로즈 (Green Rose), which has a bad rep as a low-rent Resurrection, but it's a really solid drama that can stand on its own. Cast, led by veteran Moon Sung-Geun and promising youngster Song Chang-Wi, seems to be excellent, and if the start is any indication, we might have one of the best dramas of the year on our hands. Check a little clip below the break (spoilers, but it's the cliffhanger of episode 1 that sets up the entire drama, so maybe even better than a trailer).